Bicycles on DUQ Traffic Report

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Lolly
Participant
#

I called DUQ this morning after listening to yet another traffic report that just talks about cars, accidents, and gridlock.

I asked if they would consider mentioning during these reports that there are also bicycles that use the road and that motorists should look out for bikes, particularly in hazardous conditions, and to give enough room to pass.

The woman who I talked to seemed to think it was a good idea and she said she’d pass it to the news desk. What do you think? Could we start calling all the radio stations we listen to and getting bikes mentioned during the traffic reports?

If it’s said over and over, every time there’s a traffic report, it might start to sink it with a lot of people driving who’d never considered bikes being anything but an irritation, or who had no idea that you should give three feet when passing.


JZ
Participant
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I like this idea.

Now I have a mental image of hearing a traffic report: “The parkway east is backed up from the Squirrel Hill tunnel to Grant. No congestion on the Eliza Furnace Trail. Clear sailing on the Three Rivers Heritage trail all the way out to Millvale.”


floggingdavy
Participant
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likes this


scott
Keymaster
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+1

I called DUQ a year or so ago asking if they would start to refer to “accidents” as “crashes” since accident implies that nothing could be done to prevent it. I had a nice discussion with the traffic person, but after it was all said and done he thought “crash” had too much of a negative connotation. Um, well, it is a pretty negative occurrence!

That said, I have noticed that they have started using the word “crash” occasionally in recent months in place of “accident.”


sloaps
Participant
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I did hear on DUQ this morning a PSA for commuters to take along raingear as they head out the door.

… pretty close.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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I’d love for them to say “Travel time from Downtown to Millvale, 28 minutes by car on the detour, 14 minutes by bike on the trail.”


ieverhart
Participant
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The traffic reports on WDUQ are always the same thing. Bend at Bates, Green Tree Hill, Squirrel Hill tunnels, Liberty Tubes. Pick any two out of the four and they’re liable to be mentioned as congestion points, or even the hat trick (plus one) some days.

They could do the same thing for the trails.

Bikes are free-flowing with zero congestion on the Jail Trail for the 4,532nd day in a row.

Well, except the snow days. But it wasn’t exactly “traffic” that was the problem then.


Lolly
Participant
#

Maybe if more than one person recommends it, they’ll start to consider it. Maybe it would lessen congestion if people started to realize that it’s basically a traffic free way to get to work.

I bet there’s a lot of DUQ listeners who do ride bikes and it would be appropriate of them to start addressing more than one mode of transportation.


superletour
Participant
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I think a traffic report for cyclists might seem a little silly to most listeners, at least the way things are now… but in the winter, I would LOVE to be able to turn on the radio and hear if bike lanes/routes and trails have been plowed and salted, i.e. a “cyclists’ road condition report”. It might make the difference between me riding my poor studded tires on bare pavement or making good use out of them.


Lyle
Participant
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I like this too.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Every single one of them will have the same set of What About or What If questions, and we’re right here to answer them all. Rain. Cold. Snow. Wind. Dark/lighting. Parking. Best approach. Where to park. How to lock up. Potholes. Carrying bike on/in a car. Riding in traffic. Bus-to-bike, bike-to-bus.

In short, how to get new riders up to speed. We have the knowledge and experience, and are willing to share it. The more of them ask, the better. The more of them try it, the more will ask the next level of questions (repair, best way to get from X to Y, etc.).


Pseudacris
Participant
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How about: “Cars are advised to allow extra room for cyclists today, as they pass over slippery or clogged grates.” Of course they should allow extra room all the time, but rainy days could be an opportunity to raise the subject in traffic reports…


Lolly
Participant
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This is the number I called this morning: General Information Phone: 412.396.6030. I can’t find an email address.


edmonds59
Participant
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I suppose some appropriate local business could sponsor the traffic report and attach the tag “Cycle traffic on the EFT and North Shore trails is heavy but steady with no delays, commute time from Squirrel Hill approximately 20 minutes.”

I hope someday before I go to the big recycle bin to hear an actual traffic report that says “There is cycle congestion at the end of the EFT at Grant street, allow a little extra time for interacting with other human beings.”


Noah Mustion
Participant
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That’d be awesome, but for radio stations to carry the same message re: motorcyclists, their lobby group (Ride Free PA i think?) has to buy advertising time for it.


Pseudacris
Participant
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Hmmmm…”this traffic report brought to you by BIKE pittsburgh….”


greenbike
Participant
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I like this too…or three or four.


Pseudacris
Participant
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This traffic report brought to you by Bike Pittsburgh. If you were on a bike right now

….you’d be having a lot more fun.

….you wouldn’t be stuck in traffic.

….you could buy yourself dinner on the way home with all the money you just saved on parking.

nag nag nag


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Anyone ever check into what airtime costs? Not cheap.


reddan
Keymaster
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Airtime’s not THAT expensive (‘cept for the FCC fines)

I still want to pick up one of the small(legal) transmitter kits for Flock.


ejwme
Participant
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I like Lolly’s idea. If enough people call and ask, especially enough members of those stations, it could be enough to get a station to do it. But don’t most other radio traffic reports come from like one guy/gal? I seem to remember hearing the same traffic voice on all the Clear Channel stations as I flip around. DUQ and YEP seem to read their own (probably from the same source) but could interject the requested information (perhaps prompted by BPGH like for rain, read THIS; for fog, read THIS; for snow, read THIS). That would be a good start, moving up to actually useful information for cyclists.

I heard a thing on NPR this morning suggesting that the recent downturn in accidents and fatalities on the road was merely a phenomenon of the recession (fewer people traveling the roads) and thus temporary, while Europe’s willingness to enforce the laws it has and install roundabouts to slow traffic and whatnot are inconveniences that both save lives and Europeans are willing to tolerate.

Same bit had a blurb about a guy that won an election on a promise to get rid of the cameras ticketing red light runners and then, for the first and last time in the history of the human race, succeeded in satisfying that election promise and got rid of the cameras. Because the cameras were clearly just about getting money for the municipality, which is an evil, horrible thing.

Makes me wonder, why don’t they just change the laws so they can run red lights too? Or is it that everybody but _me_ should follow the laws, and _I_ shouldn’t be held accountably for _my_ actions? All through the day, I me mine, I me mine, I me mine….


cburch
Participant
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ding ding ding


Steven
Participant
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“This traffic report brought to you by Bike Pittsburgh. If you were on a bike right now… you wouldn’t need to listen to traffic reports.”


Lolly
Participant
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If you come to volunteer night tonight, we can talk about ideas and possibilities for this…

IN PERSON!


Marko82
Participant
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I’m 90% sure I’ll be there.


emilyWools
Participant
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+1 to “this traffic report brought to you by BIKE pittsburgh….”


ieverhart
Participant
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“This traffic report brought to you by Bike Pittsburgh. If you were on a bike right now… you wouldn’t need to listen to traffic reports.”

WIN


Vannevar
Participant
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Marko82
Participant
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“chattanoogans have a bike traffic report”

chattanoogans have a bike traffic report

I could’nt find a current link, so I’m not sure they are still doing this.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

Don’t some of our local stations have a Twitter feed? How about if we simply, as individuals, start sending [pick your favorite station’s Twitter handle] with up-to-the-minute reports on trail conditions? Be regular about it, too. I know the lady at Port Authority who handles @PGHtransit has gotten to know me over the past year or so, just from Twitter.

The more info they have, and the more reliably they get it, the more likely they will report it.


Lyle
Participant
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Hm. Maybe we should tweet our close encounters with PAT drivers instead of sending them to the web form.


dwillen
Participant
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I do that. They tweet you back and tell you to file a complaint. Har har.

There was a moment of twitter justice when sprite got manhandled off the T with her folder bike. Something like that seems like a PR nightmare for PAT.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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I’ll back up what PAT says on that one. The person handling PAT’s Twitter feed is in a different department from where the complaints are supposed to go. She has all she can handle being given info from six garages, the guy who handles detours, etc. Please DO use the web form for complaints; those go right to the person who is supposed to handle complaints.

Let’s just hope that either one of those people still have jobs on 3/31/11.


dwillen
Participant
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Their complaint form is a total joke. There is no response from the person handling the complaints, and you see no visible change after filing a complaint. Why even waste the time if all you are doing is firing off your complaint into a black hole? It seems like they have no incentive to address my concerns or even respond to them. If they aren’t accountable to the people complaining, is there a 3rd party that verifies complaints are being addressed?


JZ
Participant
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==dwillen on the complaint process being a total joke

As for “total PR nightmare” – I believe that they think that the current mess of route-cutting and the funding debacle is a bigger PR problem than a few people on bikes.


ejwme
Participant
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back to the traffic reports…

Today, I got stuck on 28S just after HPB, roughly just before 8AM. On the radio the nice lady (DUQ) said that 28S was backed up to the 31st Bridge due to an earlier accident that had been cleared. DAILY (no accident) 28S is backed up from 31st starting at 6:30AM. When I finally made it off of 8N, most of the way to Carberry at 8:30ish, the next report said it was backed up to 40th st Bridge (that happens daily by 7AM). In my experience, those traffic reports are about 40 minutes to an hour behind, and “backed up” means complete stand still for longer than 5 minutes a stretch. Regular people’s definition of “backed up” (half the speed limit to creeping) doesn’t get reported.

Just pointing out that we’re asking for this service for bicycles. Not saying it wouldn’t be lovely, at least mentioning the trails, and good PR. Just saying if you get what you ask for, it may not be as helpful as one would hope, especially regarding trail snow removals.


Lyle
Participant
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If they aren’t accountable to the people complaining, is there a 3rd party that verifies complaints are being addressed?

I’m wondering about a FOIA request, eventually. But first we have to collect a series of complaints so that we have some known examples to compare against what they publish.

the funding debacle is a bigger PR problem than a few people on bikes.

Until they crush one and the news media get interviews with a dozen cyclists with stories to tell.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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I have it in writing on complaints to PAT going into a black hole as far back as 1997. They do act on (many of) them, but their method of getting back to people on progress or outcome is non-existent. If I didn’t have inside connections, I wouldn’t know that any complaints I made actually got anywhere. Just like their phone system, which hasn’t changed to speak of since 1992, certain things — especially those involving technology — just do not EVER get any attention. Their complaint system dates to at least 1995 and wasn’t new then.


Lyle
Participant
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Maybe if they were more responsive they’d get more public support during their interminable funding crises?

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